Calendar,  Medieval manuscripts

June from Walters W.425

Walters Art Museum, W.425, fol 6r, © 2011 Walters Art Museum, used under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License

Typical labors for June include sheep-shearing and hay-mowing, (or scything) and raking the dried hay into small piles. Despite what The Walters Museum says about this June calendar image from Walters W.425, “Three figures farming,” they are in fact  two figures scything hay.

The two men in the front are mowing or cutting the grass, which once it dries, magically becomes hay. They men are both using scythes mounted on a long shaft called a snath. The snath has an extra handle which makes the two-handed swinging motion of mowing the hay more efficient. As they mow they create small piles of drying hay. Once the hay is dried, it is collected and moved to a barn. The figure in the back is balancing a basket on his (?) head, possibly containing dried hay going to the barn.

The border of the Walters W. 425 June calendar image shows the astrological symbol for Cancer. The crab this instance is one of those that more resembles a crayfish than a crab.

The border also features flowers, in both full bloom and in bud. I’m not positive, but I am fairly certain the flowers are roses. Flemish mss. in particular favored botanical marginal illustrations, as we’ve already seen in the case of Walters W.425.

Marginal detail from Walters W.425 possibly showing a rose blossom
Marginal detail from Walters W.425 possibly showing a rose blossom
Detail from the border showing, maybe, a rose in bud
Detail from the border of Walters W.425 showing, maybe, a rose in bud